The Cage Warriors Academy semi-finals hit Belfast, Ireland on Saturday 8th September, seeing Irish fighters Caolan Loughran and Ciaran Mulholland take on Nathan Fletcher and Francis Breen from the NW Academy.
The first of these bouts, between Caolan Loughran of Konfliction MMA and Nathan Fletcher of Next Generation MMA Liverpool, was a closely contested fight showcasing both fighters abilities.
All 3 rounds began with Loughran taking the center of the cage, showcasing his striking abilities with Fletcher refusing to engage with him before shooting into a double leg takedown, successfully landing one at the start of every round.
In the first two rounds, Loughran was able to sweep Fletcher landing up on top. Fletcher came closest to finishing the fight when he locked up a triangle in the first round. The fight looked to be coming to a close when Loughran rolled to his side only for Fletcher to transition to an armbar that Caolan was just able to make it out of.
Loughran looked far better when fighting on his feet but Fletcher was able to secure takedowns consistently and despite some clever reversals and submission attacks from Caolan, Fletcher was able to keep his opponents offense quiet.
A dominant third round for Fletcher sealed the deal as he won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in order to advance to the finals of the tournament.
The second of the semi-final match ups on the night saw another fighter out of Next Generation MMA Liverpool, Francis Breen, take on Ciaran Mulholland at flyweight.
Mulholland came out very aggressive from the start, taking the centre of the cage.
Breen threw a punch that was easily blocked by Mulholland who countered with a perfectly timed right hand, dropping Breen to the floor.
Mulholland chased him to the ground looking to finish the fight with strikes but Breen was able to limit Ciaran’s offense.
Breen looked to use the cage to reverse the position but Mulholland read it well and as Francis attempted to get up, locked up a rear naked choke, submitting Francis Breen in only 36 seconds of the very first round.
Another key bout on the fight card saw the Cage Warriors Academy Ireland bantamweight title on the line as Ciaran Breslin met Glenn McVeigh.
The first two rounds took place against the cage as both fighters achieved success in a variety of grappling positions.
The start of the third round saw Ciaran Breslin look to strike with Glenn McVeigh which proved successful as he landed a short left hand, dropping McVeigh as he went in for a takedown.
McVeigh was able to grab a hold of Breslin, initiating another grappling exchange and not allowing Breslin to push for a finish.
The third round saw Ciaran Breslin dominate on top, leaving the fight very close as it went to the judges’ scorecards.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Glenn McVeigh who unfortunately, due to being over the bantamweight weight limit, was unable to win the title in this fight.
All words by Kyle Dimond.
CWA Bantamweight Title Fight
Glenn McVeigh def. Ciaran Breslin via Unanimous Decision
CWA Grand Prix bouts
Nathan Fletcher def. Caolan Loughran via Unanimous Decision
Ciaran Mulholland def. Francis Breen via Submission (RNC) – Round 1
Paddy Wilkinson def. Nate Enright via KO (Punches) – Round 2
Emil Piatek def. Aaron Devlin via TKO (GNP) – Round 3
Ervins Linmeiers def. Dan Holohan via KO – Round 1
Stephen O’Neil def. Graham Sheehan via KO _ Round 3
Stephen O’Driscoll def. Karl Dixon via TKO (GNP) – Round 2
Patrick McNally def. Jamie Bissett via Submission (Armbar) – Round 1
Ruari Lavery def. Gary Lavery via Submission (Armbar) – Round 1
Oran Hutton def. Joe Jordan via Unanimous Decision
Gers Harris def. Daryl Whyte via Submission (Armbar) – Round 2
Mickey Byrne def. Taylor Quinn via Unanimous Decision